I spoke about Peril at a panel today titled “The Revolution will be downloaded”. Rachel Hills talked about using the web to promote yourself and interconnect with people, and Angela Meyer talked about her cultural blog literary-minded. James Stuart talked about New Media and really was the only one who used multimedia in a creative way to make interactive art work with words, sound and three dimensional graphics. It made me realise that I should pay a little bit more attention to my blog if I want to utilise it properly.
This week I have had some exciting project possibilities come my way. Kit Lazaroo has generously offered to assist dramaturgy work on Silence with me over a year or more to develop the script further. And Simon Charles a very talented composer wants to collaborate with me on an opera- another multi year project. Even though I thought I would concentrate more on novel writing these projects still resonate and excite me even more. In both these projects Kit and Simon want to explore the artistic possibilities of expressing Buddhism, Kit in the theatrical dramatic sense, Simon in the musical. And I? In my novel the lady of the realm I am exploring the novel form as a cyclic and linear experience, and meditating on the heart sutra which coincidentally my sangha group is also looking at. Or maybe it’s not a coincidence. The heart sutra is a central text in Buddhism and I read it at my grandfather’s funeral in 1996. His last words were “form is emptiness, emptiness is form” referring to how we go beyond notions of life and death to reach nirvana, the other shore.
Peril’s launch was at the Sydney Writers Festival. Annette Shun Wah said some very kind things about Peril, how it was coherent and intelligent and easily accessible to all. Tiffany Loh and Komi Sellathurai read their respeective p[ieces from Peril Issue 7 and were warmly received.
The “Love, Pity, Honour, Compassion and Sacrifice” panel was very interesting. Chi Vu opened with her thoughts about the 1.5 generation of Vietnamese-Australians as translators or traitors. She talked about how they could draw from both Vietnamese and Australian worlds and audiences. Nathalie Nguyen had the most interesting talk she talked about the 2nd generation (of which I am one) having post memories- that are passed down by parents of Vietnam. Having been back to Vietnam I now have my own memories, but certainly until 1997 I only had the post memories of my parents to draw on. Khoa Do talked about Missing Water his new film.
I met up with Stephen Conte who won the Prime Ministers Prize last year and $100,000. He is very modest and down to earth- after having experiences such as only having two people come to his book signing. We talked abouit our techniques for writing novels- writing very fast and then having to revisit and put stuffing and lyricism into our respective works. As I go along I’m realising that maybe although this does not resemble any technique or process I’ve been taught- it is still my process and a valid one.
Very exciting news- I’m going to Berlin in October courtesy of UWS and the Goethe Institute.
I haven’t been doing as much writing as I would like, and it may be because my next few weekends are occupied with the Sydney Writers Festival and then the Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne. See events for details. Melbournalia 2 starts tonight which is very exciting- David Mence and Kelly Farrow from White Whale Theatre have done a fantastic job interpreting “I could be you” with some very talented actors.
Got a mention in the Australian and the Age for “I could be you”, a short play in the Meburnalia 2 series.
I have an Opinion piece in today’s Age, History forgotten in hysteria over asylum seekers. It starts:
THE RECENT media and political panic resulting from another boatload of asylum seekers coming to Australia demonstrates that both parties have forgotten about the nature of their constituencies.
“Boat people” in the 1970s and 1980s are now the well established Vietnamese-Australian communities. “Boat people” include such high achievers such as Khoa Do and Tan Le, both Young Australians of the Year, and Nam Le, the short-story author.
The Liberals have forgotten the legacy of Malcolm Fraser, who supported the family re-unification plan and cynically have even forgotten the Vietnamese people who vote Liberal because of that legacy. Labor has taken the easy way out and is now even claiming that the 90-day limit for mandatory detention may be exceeded because there are too many asylum seekers on Christmas Island.
Read the rest, and comment below if you like.